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Alejandro González Iñárritu Calls Superheroes ‘Sad Figures’

Also in the this week's 'Just for Variety,' Alan Cumming chats hosting 'The Traitors,' Josh Duhamel talks kissing Jennifer Lopez in 'Shotgun Wedding' and more.

Alejandro González Iñárritu at the BAFTA Tea Party held at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles At Beverly Hills on January 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Gilbert Flores for Variety

Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”

If anyone was holding out hope that Alejandro González Iñárritu would change his mind about directing a superhero movie, I don’t have good news for ya.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker doubled down on his dislike of the tentpole genre when I caught up with him at the recent BAFTA Tea Party in Beverly Hills. Calling superheroes “sad figures,” Iñárritu said, “I see heroes every day. I see beautiful people really going through very difficult situations and doing incredible things. And that is the people that I kind of connect with. But these kinds of superpower heroes, really do we need that?”

He continued, “If you need that, is there something missing … instead of admiring what we have, the possibilities that we have?”

Iñárritu first made headlines for blasting superhero movies back in 2014, when he called such films “cultural genocide.” The comment came ahead of the release of “Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” a dark comedy about a former star of a superhero trilogy (Michael Keaton) who tries to revive his career by trying to mount a Broadway play. “Birdman” took home several Oscars, including best picture.

As we know, Iñárritu is not the only acclaimed filmmaker who has come down on the superhero genre. Jane Campion attracted debate when she told me in November 2021 that she would never direct superhero movie. “I actually hate them,” she said.

Martin Scorsese penned an op-ed in the New York Times in 2019 to defend his remarks in an earlier interview in which he said Marvel movies weren’t “cinema.”

Alan Cumming was never a fan of reality competition shows, so he wasn’t sure why the producers of “The Traitors,” the hit series from the Netherlands, wanted him to host Peacock’s U.S. version. But he took a look at the original show — think an elaborate game of Mafia — and met with the producers, who wanted him to host while doing his best “James Bond villain.” “I think it’s great to be open to different things,” Cumming says on this week’s “Just for Variety” podcast. “And also sometimes you have the most fun in the most random places. Doing ‘The Traitors’ was hilarious.”

Next up, Cumming is jetting to Los Angeles to return as host of AARP’s Movies for Grownups Awards on Jan. 28. Asked when he realized he was a grown-up, the 57-year- old actor laughed and said it was about 13 years ago, when he was cast as Eli Gold on “The Good Wife”: “I remember I said, ‘Why are they asking me? He’s a middle-aged guy in a suit.’ But then I went, ‘Wait, I’m a middle-aged guy, and if I put a suit on — bingo!’”

David Duchovny at the premiere of “You People” held at the Regency Village Theatre on January 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Gilbert Flores for Variety

David Duchovny gives a purposely cringe-worthy performance of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” in Kenya Barris’ new Netflix dramedy “You People.” “We shot that at the height of COVID, so the most dangerous thing you could do is sing,” the actor tells me.

The set was cleared for him to lip-sync to the recording while pretending to play the piano. “I couldn’t perform to anybody,” Duchovny says. “It was so sad. After I finished singing — well, lip-syncing — they had to air out the room for an hour.”

Josh Duhamel says he was most worried about his breath when he filmed a little bedroom romp with Jennifer Lopez in Jason Moore’s Amazon Prime Video rom-com, “Shotgun Wedding.” “I had gum in my mouth, and halfway through the scene, [Lopez] was like, ‘Are you chewing gum?’” Duhamel recalls. “I was like, ‘Yeah.’ She was like, ‘Spit that gum out.’”

On a more serious note, Duhamel says he had a near fatal accident in the Dominican Republic while trying to take video of a cove where the film was shooting: “These giant powerful waves [were] crashing up … and a rogue wave comes up and knocks me straight back over the tops of these rocks — they call them razor rocks. I had a hole in my hand, all over my legs and feet. But I’m thankful for those rocks or I would have pulled over the cliff, and there’s no way to save you after that.”

You can watch my red carpet interview with Duhamel at the “Shotgun Wedding” premiere above.

See-Saw

This Just In: The nominations for this year’s The Queerties were announced Wednesday morning. This year’s nominees across several categories include Kit Connor, Joe Locke, Joel Kim Booster, Noah Schnapp,  Aunjanue Ellis, Ryan O’Connell, George Takei, Matt Rogers, Meg Stalter, Jerrod Carmichael, “Tár,” “Spoiler Alert,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “The White Lotus,” “Heartstopper,” “Hacks,” “Euphoria,” Murray Bartlett, Johnny Sibilly, Amandla Stenberg, Ben Aldridge and Billy Eichner.  Winners will be voted on by Queerty readers from now through Feb. 21. The 11th annual awards will be handed out Feb. 28 in Los Angeles. For more info, go to queerty.com/queerties.

In other LGBTQ awards news, Ariana DeBose is set to receive the HRC Visibility Award, presented by Colman Domingo, at the Human Rights Campaign’s Greater New York Dinner on Feb. 4. This year’s HRC National Equality Award recipient is artist Kehinde Wiley. More info at hrcgreaterny.org/dinner.